10 Essentials on What is Thrombocytopenia

what is thrombocytopenia

What is Thrombocytopenia

Thrombocytopenia is also known as thrombopenia and described as a blood disorder in which there is a reduction in the number of platelets in the blood stream. It is a condition where low amount of platelet count is circulating in the blood.

Platelets are known to have a very critical role in blood coagulation and clotting, without it there will be an excessive loss of blood due to uncontrolled bleeding.

The number of platelets in the blood is referred as the platelet count and it normally ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 per one millionth of a litre of blood.

Any platelet counts of less than 150,000 is referred to as thrombocytopenia while a platelet count greater than 450,000 is referred to as thrombocytosis.


1. Causes of thrombocytopenia

Thrombocytopenia can result from a variety of reasons. These reasons may be associated to factors like increased destruction or consumption of blood platelets, increased capturing of circulating platelets by the spleen, or decreased platelet production in the bone marrow.

An increase in the number of platelet destruction or consumption is evidently seen in a number of medicinal conditions. These conditions may either be related to immunity responses or not.

Certain medications may also result in having low platelet count by causing reactions that goes against blood platelets. This is referred to as drug-induced thrombocytopenia.

2. Testing and diagnosis of thrombocytopenia

Thrombocytopenia can be tested in two ways: a blood test and through physical examination.

A Complete Blood Count (CBC) shows the number of blood cells in the blood, including platelets. Normal platelet count in adults ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood. In cases where the complete blood count records fewer than 150,000 platelets, the individual is considered to have thrombocytopenia.

Physical examination of the individual may also sometimes be used to determine whether the individual has thrombocytopenia. Characteristics such as medical history and signs of bleeding usually under the skin will provide relevant information. Also, a feel of the abdomen can indicate whether the spleen is enlarged.

3. Symptoms of thrombocytopenia

Patients with thrombocytopenia will show number of signs and symptoms.

Easy or excessive bruising known as purpura, superficial bleeding, prolonged bleeding from cuts, bleeding from gums or nose, traces of blood in urine or stools, unusually heavy menstrual flows for women and fatigue; are all possible symptoms of thrombocytopenia.

Having enlarged spleen and jaundice are some of the other signs and symptoms with the disorder.

4. Effects of thrombocytopenia

Excessive bleeding may come together with thrombocytopenia and for that reason, it can lead to death. The disorder can lead to dehydration of the patients, leaving the patients vulnerable to other blood related disorders such as anaemia and blood cancer.

Effects of the disorder depend on the symptoms exhibited by the patient and may vary from one to another.

5. Complications related to thrombocytopenia

Thrombocytopenia can lead to serious health problems in patients. Dangerous internal bleeding might occur when the platelet count falls way below the acceptable minimum; as low as 10,000 platelets per microliter.

This hardly occurs, but in case it happens, thrombocytopenia can result to bleeding in the brain of the patient; causing fatal problems such as brain disorders.

6. Treatment of thrombocytopenia

Mild thrombocytopenia does not usually require treatment. Children can suffer from the type of thrombocytopenia, showing no signs and symptoms of the disorder. The condition later clears up on its own.

This is not always the case with grown ups. Grown-ups can develop severe and long-term chronic thrombocytopenia. Such cases require medical treatment to solve the problem. There are several methods used to treat thrombocytopenia. The type of treatment used depends on the cause of the problem and the signs exhibited by the patient.

Treating the underlying cause of thrombocytopenia is always the first option. If the doctor can clearly identify any medication or condition that is resulting to it, the best option of treatment would be addressing the cause to eventually clear up the condition.

Blood or platelet transfusions help greatly in cases where the platelet level is too low. The transfusion will involve direct introduction of more blood platelets to the blood.

Sometimes, medication will be used to help treat the disorder. If the condition is immune system-related, the doctor may choose to prescribe drugs that are meant to boost the platelet count. A good example of common meds is the use of corticosteroid and if it fails to work, stronger medications mainly intended to suppress the immune system may be useful.

Surgery can come in handy in case all of the above methods of treatment have failed. Splenectomy is a surgery on the spleen, used when the spleen is holding onto more than the normal number of platelets it should store.

In some cases, plasma exchange is used, especially in cases where thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura results in medical emergency in which the only solution is plasma exchange.

7. Home remedies and suggested lifestyle for people with thrombocytopenia

Individuals with thrombocytopenia have to guard against any loss of blood. This could be done through avoiding activities that could lead to injury; but could engage in activities that have minimum levels for risks unlike contact sports.

Alcohol is known to slow the production of platelets in the body. For those who needs to drink, moderation must be exercised and a doctor’s advice should be sought before resolving to that. Since some medication leads to reduced platelet number, the patients need to be cautious with the use of over-the-counter medications. These medications, like aspirin and ibuprofen, can impair platelet functioning or production.

8. Thrombocytopenia can be inherited

Not all patients that suffer from thrombocytopenia develop the disorder. In some cases, thrombocytopenia is inherited by the offspring from parents, and the disorder may have come down a long family line.

Family medical records are thus, important in case individuals show signs of excessive bleeding and jaundice, more frequently.

9. Anaemia and cancer are diseases that relate to thrombocytopenia

Cancer of the blood deprives the body of sufficient blood hence, reduction in the number of blood platelets. Cancer of the bone marrow will also result in the dysfunctionality of the bone in producing platelets. Anaemic people are also likely to suffer from thrombocytopenia.

Both the two illnesses are known causes of thrombocytopenia.

10. Thrombocytopenia can be fatal

Knowing that thrombocytopenia involves the blood, it can be fatal. The disorder can result to excessive loss of blood especially in cases of injury to blood vessels.

The lack of platelets which is supposed to control the bleeding through initiating normal clotting process leaves the body vulnerable to too much loss of blood. This can result to death.


For a summary on the topic of what is thrombocytopenia, it is a blood disorder that can be inherited from parents, or may be caused by a number of medicinal issues or medical conditions.

Reduced number of platelets can be due to trapping of platelets by an enlarged spleen, increased destruction of platelets as an effect of a disease or drug, or decreased platelet production in the bone marrow as a result of impaired functionality.


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